|Imam Zijad’s Corner: Righteousness is Good Character
Reported by Al-Nawwaas ibn Samaan (r) that Muhammad (S) said: “Righteousness is a good character.” (Muslim)
Transliteration: “At-Taqwa Husnul Khuluq.”
Note: The Arabic word birr translated here as ‘righteousness’ can be used in two senses.
The first is to mean treating others in a good fashion, in particular one’s parents, though more generally it means to behave well towards everyone. When birr is used in this fashion in the Qur’an it is usually used in conjunction with tawqa or awareness of God Who says in the Qur’an: “Help you one another in righteousness and awareness of God” [Surah Al Maidah:2]
The second sense in which the word birr is used is to refer to acts of worship and obedience to God both inward and outward. The concept of righteousness then, incorporates treating others in the best way possible, believing in God and all that He has revealed, giving in charity, keeping promises, being truthful, patient and performing acts of obedience and worship of God.
The concept of character (in Arabic khuluq) in Islam incorporates a combination of understanding, intention and deeds with the last two aspects playing the most important role.
If a person has good intentions followed by good deeds, it is said that they have good character.
If a person has bad intentions followed by bad deeds it is said that they have a bad character.